Direct, immediate value: Trades programs at KCC offer serious opportunities for students 

An Industrial Trades student trains on equipment at the RMTC.

Kellogg Community College in October is celebrating Manufacturing Month, a monthlong celebration of all things manufacturing.  

We caught up with Nathan Venske, executive director of Industrial Trades Education and Workforce Solutions at KCC, to ask him about manufacturing training opportunities at KCC and the importance of industrial trades education to the community. 

Learn more about Industrial Trades training at KCC on our website at

Why is manufacturing important? 

Manufacturing plays a crucial role in economic development and job creation. Further, manufacturing contributes to innovation and technological advances while providing strength and stability to our economy.  

Locally, the direct benefit to individuals looking to pursue a career in manufacturing is the bountiful opportunities having a thriving manufacturing sector provides.  

Why are Industrial Trades programs such as those offered at KCC valuable career options for students? What are the benefits of learning a trade? 

Industrial Trades programs provide all people an opportunity to gain skills that will provide direct immediate value to themselves, the community and their employer. A large benefit of learning a trade is that a student will become a key piece in driving sustainability in their community.  

What sets KCC’s trades/manufacturing programs apart? Why should students train at KCC over other options? 

KCC is unique in our trades/manufacturing programs. We are open entry/open exit, modular in course structure and competency based. In short, students can enter the semester at any time, register for modules as appropriate based on their expected pace and time commitment and work through the curriculum until competency is met for each individual module during a semester timeline.  

KCC puts emphasis on building and maintaining positive, collaborative relationships with local partners (employers, local unions, community organizations, K-12 schools, etc.). The College also has a well-documented history of investing in manufacturing and industrial trades, most evidenced by the construction and consistent updating of the Regional Manufacturing Technology Center in the Fort Custer Industrial Park.  

Additionally, KCC has added both mechatronics and welding labs at our Eastern Academic Center in Albion for more convenient access for students in eastern Calhoun County.  

How does KCC programming contribute to a healthy economy/community in the greater Battle Creek area? What does the College provide beyond individual students to the manufacturing/business community as a whole? 

KCC programing contributes to a healthy economy by training current and prospective trades/manufacturing employees that will fill roles to a vital industry in Battle Creek. KCC representatives serve on local advisory committees, consortiums and collaboratives tasked with improving the manufacturing/business community as a whole. Further, KCC has a Workforce Solutions arm that can leverage different state and federal funds for the community and our partners. 

Anything else you want to mention? 

There may never be a better time to enter into a trade or into the manufacturing sector. Abundant opportunities currently exist in most trade areas and at various skill set and experience levels.  

Individuals looking to become a student at KCC focusing on Industrial Trades have the ability to position themselves well to earn a great family-sustaining wage to build a well-balanced life.  

This article first appeared in the September 2023 edition of BruIN magazine. To read the issue online, please visit